LITTLE CURRENT—The annual Manitoulin Centennial Manor volunteer appreciation luncheon was turned on its head a little this year, as the volunteers took the opportunity to recognize and express their appreciation of the Manor’s longtime volunteer and activity coordinator Nina Coates.
The Manitoulin Centennial Manor Auxiliary joined other volunteer groups in recognizing Ms. Coates’ contribution to the wellbeing of the residents of the long-term care facility despite her reluctant protestations.
“On behalf of the Manor Auxiliary, I would like to congratulate you on your retirement, the end of an era but the beginning of a whole new chapter,” said Manor Auxiliary president Donna Wuksinc. “Ever since you told the residents of your leaving, they have been upset and sad because they all love you, from bingo, to fun and fitness, to reading The Expositor, thank you for all your dedication and hard work. You are one of a kind, Nina, and will not easily be replaced.”
But although her words moistened the eyes of the room, Ms. Wuksinc noted that it was not all melancholy. “Now you will have time to do all the things that you’ve always put off like, knitting, photography, painting and gardening,” she said. “May the years that are ahead prove to be among the best—and the days of your retirement be your very happiest. Hope you find time to relax and enjoy all the beautiful things in life you deserve it—but don’t forget, you promised to come back and join us as a volunteer.”
Her retirement in that end is a coming full circle for Ms. Coates. “I started out here at the Manor as a volunteer,” she said. “I really couldn’t imaging my life without the Manor in some capacity. It has really been a dream job for me. I love the people here, the residents, all of the volunteers who give so generously of their time and my colleagues here at the manor, this is a very caring community.”
Members of the Manor Auxiliary gathered to present Ms. Coates with a bouquet of flowers and a card of appreciation—and to break out into song. The serenade can be found online in its entirety at The Expositor’s website www.manitoulin.ca.
The recognition took Ms. Coates by surprise. “This is supposed to be appreciating you volunteers,” she protested. This was the second time the activity coordinator was ambushed by a grateful room. “They did this to me at the Manor birthday party too,” she said as she dabbed at the corners of her eyes. “The residents got me there.”
A caring person touches so many lives as they go about their work and the things they love. “It just doesn’t seem like work to me,” admitted Ms. Coates. “This has truly been the best job ever.”